President Barack Obama has ordered a full review into suspicions that Russians hacked the 2016 presidential election. On Friday, White House counterterrorism advisor Lisa Monaco made the announcement and said the results of the report would be available before Obama leaves office on Jan. 20. U.S. intelligence agencies will be tasked with finding evidence that the Russian government used cyber attacks and other means to intervene in the 2016 election.
“The President has directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review of what happened during the 2016 election process. It is to capture lessons learned from that and to report to a range of stakeholders,” Monaco said. “This is consistent with the work that we did over the summer to engage Congress on the threats that we were seeing.”
Obama is said to be concerned that Russia will go unpunished for the cyber attacks if nothing is done before he leaves office.
However, intelligence officials worry that disclosing this information could compromise sensitive sources and methods.
A senior intelligence official told NBC News that the report may be released to the public.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, stated that he was “pleased that the Administration is undertaking a full review of Russian hacking into our elections and democratic institutions. The administration should work to declassify as much of it as possible, while protecting our sources and methods, and make it available to the public.”
Schiff added, “After many briefings by our intelligence community, it is clear to me that the Russians hacked our democratic institutions and sought to interfere in our elections and sow discord. In this, tragically, they succeeded. Given President-elect Trump’s disturbing refusal to listen to our intelligence community and accept that the hacking was orchestrated by the Kremlin, there is an added urgency to the need for a thorough review before President Obama leaves office next month.”
Schiff warned that if the U.S. doesn’t respond forcefully that “we can expect to see a lot more of this in the near future
Republicans in Congress, including Lindsay Graham and John McCain have indicated they will support efforts by Democrats to investigate the Russian hacks.
The administration has not noted the motives of the hackers and did not state that the cyber attacks helped Donald Trump win the election. However, the efforts of the hackers did only target the Democratic Party.
In the months leading up to the election, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the personal email accounts of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman John Podesta, and other political organizations were hacked and many believe that Russia was behind the cyber acts. Many of the emails were released publically by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.